I confess I thought all blenders were the same until recently. I don't have the money to drop on a VitaMix, but I DID want something that was powerful enough to blend up smoothies. The reviews here all seemed to be pretty good, so I figured what the heck, for $40 you really can't go wrong. I love this little blender. I've never used the travel mug, as I make my smoothies way larger than that, so I can't comment on how that aspect works. However, for everything else I've tried with it--ice, frozen fruits, greens--it's been great. I've had it for about a month now, using it nearly every day, and have had no problems with it. If you're going to compare it to a blender with a higher speed motor (and really, this was the best I could find for such a good price), I will say that this doesn't make smoothies COMPLETELY smooth. For instance, when I put greens in mine, there are still tiny bits, which can be a little off-putting. A tip for that, however: if you put the greens and your liquid of choice (water/juice/etc.) first, then blend for a minute or so, that really helps to break it all up. However, if you're not as picky as all that, I really don't think you'll have a problem with it.
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